Spreading methods

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Spreading methods

Spreading methods are mostly a problem seen from a TV viewpoint, but necessary seen from the viewpoint of the sport as one needs some way of splitting up runners for interval start races with short start intervals and for chasing start/mass start races. For relay, spreading can be done in a way which is no problem for TV.

  • Butterflies or phi-loops: Typically used in interval start long distance races. Also in some chasing start races (e.g. World Cup Liberec 2011, NORT final 2011). TBD: Graphics showing how a butterfly/phi-loop works
    • In an interval start race, butterflies/phi-loops can typically be applied in a part of the course which is not shown to the viewer, and thus this is no problem. For phi-loops it is important that all spreading is done between TV splits so that all runners have run the same length at all TV splits.
    • In a chasing start/mass start event, it is close to impossible to understand the standing in the race during the butterflies/phi-loops, and the duration is so long (typically around 10 minutes) that it is not possible to ignore it like in an interval start event. This typically takes away some of the drama from the event. In WC Liberec 2011 it was "solved" by showing a split-screen with GPS + camera footage, but still there was no drama for this period of time.
  • Forked loops: Forked loops are used in some mass start events. Effectively TV can not be shown from the forked loop part of the course.
  • Micr-o: The spreading method with most potential seen from a TV viewpoint as it actually gives (some) more value to the broadcast instead of only being a problem.
  • Runners choice: Some potential seen from TV viewpoint as the current standing can be seen at all times.

TBD: Complete the description of the spreading methods. Give examples. Further examples of in which broadcasts the spreading methods have been used.

What do you think? Please add your opinion as a comment below.

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